My earworm for the past few weeks has been ‘Is That All There Is?’ by Peggy Lee. It’s guaranteed to invade my brain during any conversation about growth and success. I place the blame firmly at the feet of our new managing director. Having Seb look after so many things has freed me up to think about the big picture (and also, conversely, to over-obsess about some of the super-small things like the embroidery on our branded t-shirts, and dodgy apostrophes). Right now, the main feature of the big picture is growth.
We’re living the dream. Eleven years of doing business, and our biggest problem this year is managing growth. It’s the ultimate smug business statement. I would want to hit anyone who told me that was their problem. Beyond the smug issue, though, are the bigger questions, namely what is the point of all this growth? How big do we want to be? Why?
I can’t answer these questions, largely because I’m not motivated by growth for growth’s sake. Size really isn’t everything. It’s only recently that I have the confidence to say this and risk the ridicule of the business community with impunity and it’s thanks to Yvon Chouinard, the Patagonian rock climber and billionaire businessman, who said (among other things): “At Patagonia, making a profit is not the goal, because the Zen master would say profits happen ‘when you do everything else right’.” The value of Rude Health growing is that with size we could have the ability and resources to do something valuable and meaningful. It’s not just me - everyone in the office is motivated by something other than targets. I know this because we don’t have targets and everyone is fantastically motivated.
So while I’m all for breaking out the booze and having a ball (thanks, Peggy), I won’t be satisfied until we’ve found our purpose, and that for now is my purpose, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Having got that project off the blocks, I can now focus on the more practical and arguably urgent questions of where to find the great people we need, how to fit them in the office, and where to put all the new stock that doesn’t fit in the stockroom. Plus we need to make some space for all the fabulous new embroidered t-shirts that are about to arrive.